Greenville DDA makes progress on façades grant

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:29 am on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Downtown Develop Authority (DDA) is one step closer to receiving a façade grant.

Members of the DDA have been working on receiving a façade grant since 2010 through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), which is a branch of the state government.

“We received a letter from the State Historical Preservation Office, stating we are good to go under certain circumstances,” Assistant City Manager Cameron Van Wyngarden said.

The State Historical Preservation Office is responsible for making sure the expenditures of state and federal funds complies with the requirements for historic preservation, Van Wyngarden said. Some of the requirements include how the buildings must be prepared before it can be painted, why type on awning can be placed on the building and more.

Through the grant, business owners plan to use the money to spruce up their buildings from painting the exterior to fixing/replacing windows and bringing other entities up to date.

“It’s a very positive thing for downtown,” said Wendy Gladding, co-owner of Beamers Tanning & More.

Letters were sent out to all business owners in the beginning of the process asking who would be interested in participating. At first seven owners want to participate, however, some have dropped out leaving three — Gladding, Roy LaMarte and Barb VanHoose.

Because two of the three people receiving funds from the grant are on the DDA, one of the circumstances was for the city to consult with its attorney to see if there was a conflict of interests.

At the Sept. 4 Greenville City Council meeting, the issue was brought to the council with a letter from the attorney stating he did not believe there was a conflict of interest because the members did not take any action in the meetings and the money would be accepted and dispersed through the City Council, not the DDA.

The Greenville City Council voted to acknowledge the opinion at the meeting.

Gae Wolfe, co-director at the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, asked Van Wyngarden when the deadline is to make sure the circumstances are followed.

Van Wyngarden said it is an ongoing project that keeps rolling until everything comes together.

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